Article by W. Clay Crook-
March is Extension Month in Tennessee. Extension is a national educational program supported by USDA through the nation’s land-grant universities and administered with funding from state and local governments. Local UT Extension Director, Brian White, said that Extension offices are in each of the 95 counties, “and with many people coming in from other states to live in Tennessee and Henderson County, they may not know what we are all about.” In fact, many of the newer residents coming here are from out west or from Florida, some escaping higher taxes and others interested in having a place where you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle. “Sometimes that’s a homeplace with a few acres and sometimes a whole farm,” he said and helping them decide what they can have and support on their acreage is part of the job.
“The University of Tennessee has three arms,” Brian said, academics, research and extension. UT Extension is the outreach arm and takes research information, that has been proven in the research arena, and offers that to the public, like our people of Henderson County. Within Extension, there are three basic areas: Agriculture, 4H, and Family and Consumer Sciences.”
Brian handles Agriculture, “and I wear a different hat every day,” he said. He can be found assisting with everything from picking out crop varieties, to master certifications, like beef and horse, some of which are required by the TN Department of Agriculture. The number of hats is actually amazing, covering Farmer’s Markets, ponds, vegetables, livestock, crops, and everything in between. He has been with Extension for 22 years, and has been the Director for about two and a half years.
“There are over 750 farms listed in the county,” said Brian, “with approximately 150,0000 acres of agricultural land. The total direct economic impact is over $46 million, and when you include secondary impacts, it totals about $146 million within the county.” Cattle production and soybeans share the number one spot, from year to year, as the greatest contributors. “We are only second to Fayette County in the production of cattle in West Tennessee.” About 40,000 acres in Henderson County are in soybeans, about 10,000 acres in corn, and…
For the complete article, see the March 3rd edition of The Lexington Progress.